The Science of Fluoride

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Science of Fluoride

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This publication pulls together the official policy statements and consumer information on fluoride from the nation’s leading scientific and advocacy organizations that support community water fluoridation. It is an effort to give you the whole truth about fluoride — its benefits, its risks and its history. All the statements in this document, with the exception of the reports from the U.S. Surgeon General and the National Research Council, which at full length are each hundreds of pages long, are quoted in their entirety. Every section – including the Surgeon General’s Report and NRC Report – is unedited. Phrases are not cherry picked or commandeered for political purposes, but quoted verbatim and at length. To provide context, a brief summary above each document explains the origins of the document and summarizes its contents.

Fluoridation of community water systems is not the only way to administer fluoride and reduce cavities. Some countries in Europe put fluoride in salt. Some invest heavily in school-based dental programs. Many countries rely on socialized medicine to ensure regular dental care and fluoride treatments. The American model allows individual states or communities to decide on the best ways to protect oral health. Since the 1940s, many have relied upon community water fluoridation. To date, about two-thirds of the nation adds fluoride to its water, one reason once common dental problems are now at an all-time low.In the 1950s, before community water fluoridation became widespread, the majority of people over 65 no longer had any teeth. That number has plummeted since then to about 20%, and is expected to continue declining as more people who grew up drinking fluoridated water age into the cohort. Yet even today, millions of Americans lack access to the right amount of fluoride and many people, including children, continue to suffer from serious oral health issues, some life threatening, that might otherwise be prevented.

Use this document to learn more about fluoridation and its effect on health, relying upon the unedited testimony of some of the America’s most trusted institutions.